Canada Questions and Answers

Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program

Updated May 14, 2020

Find out more about the Program’s Canadian partnerships.

Update: The first phase of emergency supports has now wrapped up. Moving forward, the focus will be on working with Indigenous organizations to address some of the key systemic barriers COVID-19 has exacerbated,  as well as to work towards improved long term resiliency for Indigenous communities and young people.

Unsolicited expressions of interest will no longer be accepted for this phase.


What will the Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program focus on in Canada?

In Canada, the program will focus on supporting Indigenous youth and their communities during this pandemic. The Foundation has already made a long-term commitment to enable Indigenous youth to complete their education, contribute to their communities, and to drive meaningful change for the future. Together with partner education institutions and in collaboration with governments and the private sector, the Foundation will support Indigenous communities, organizations, and institutions to respond, recover and build resiliency.

Why is the program targeting Indigenous communities in Canada?

Canada recognizes that First Nation, Inuit, and Métis communities are the most vulnerable in the wake of COVID-19 due to a range of factors such as the general lack of infrastructure, including internet, limited-to-no local health supports, clean drinking water, and overcrowding of households.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada announced the COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, for a new Indigenous Community Support Fund to address urgent needs. National Indigenous organizations have also now declared a State of Emergency and seek key additional support.

Strengthening the most vulnerable communities will benefit Canada as a whole.

What initiatives will the program specifically support in Canada?

 The program will address acute needs for Indigenous youth as well as their communities within the following key areas:

  • Addressing and overcoming barriers to connectivity.
  • Ensuring continuity of learning, especially for youth nearing completion at secondary or tertiary levels.
  • Providing transitional financial supports for students and their families addressing food insecurity and homelessness.
  • Training and paying for emergency health care and community workers.
  • Ensuring virtual supports for tutoring, access to mental wellness, and health supports.
  • Providing operating funds to ensure ongoing sustainability of Indigenous organizations providing frontline supports to youth.

Will the program support existing partners or will new partnerships be established?

All existing partners, including Vancouver Island University, Yukon University, and University of Lethbridge are maximizing and extending existing supports. They are also facilitating engagement with Indigenous community partners to provide direct support to where the needs are greatest.

We will also be establishing new partnerships who will receive support via the program.

Is the Foundation working with government and other funders to maximize the impact of the program?

 Yes, we are working diligently to analyze and coordinate with Government funding availability as well as advocating for collaboration with the telecommunications sector to adjust rates, remove caps, and extend services where possible. We are also reaching out to other foundations, playing a leadership role, and promoting an approach whereby access is streamlined for Indigenous communities.

How is the Foundation prioritizing applications in Canada?

The Foundation is using the following criteria for prioritization:

  • The partnership involves collaboration with others to ensure alignment, shared learning, and magnification of impact, and/ or leverage existing funding available to ensure complementarity and maximization of resources.
  • Activities reflect needs and proposed solutions that have been articulated and prioritized by Indigenous communities and/or Indigenous young people themselves.
  • Activities include a focus on the recovery and resilience of Indigenous communities, young people, and/ or supportive Indigenous institutions.
  • The Foundation has also convened an Indigenous Leadership and Insights Circle to inform the stewardship and rollout of the Program.

Please contact CRRPCanada@mastercardfdn.org for more information.